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Sales promotion had been adopted by business firms and
marketing practitioners long before the coming of Europeans to
Nigeria in 18th/19th centuries. As a matter of fact, many business firms had been using sales promotion in marketing their goods and services to Nigerian consumers before the coming of the Europeans to Nigeria, and before the sad Biafra – Nigeria war, of the sixties (1967 – 70).
Multinational firms, mainly of European background or origin had adopted sales promotion practices and strategies in selling products and services to their Nigerian Customers and or consumers, before and after 1914, (the year/period of the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria) to the present day civilized Nigerian society / consumer. (Nkem 1999).
Before the arrival of the Europeans in Nigeria, Nigerian Entrepreneurs/business organizations had several unorthodox methods of carrying out sales promotional activities, such as going from hamlet to hamlet, village square to village square or from town to town with their products, bargaining and negotiating prices for their produce. Also during local market days, sales promotion was carried out or done by ringing bells in market squares, and through this
means, consumers, were attracted to bargain for prices and will invariably wind up, buying a commodity or product of their choice at a reduced price, or bargained price, or price off.
In Nigeria today, sales promotion is still common. Sales promotion is practiced during auction sales, Bazaar sales, Christmas period, Easter period and during other special events.
Sales promotion is important for reaping immediate fruit achieving immediate returns or achieving success at the market place, as far as marketing of goods and services are concerned.
Among, the business firms that had adopted or had been making use of sales promotion in the marketing of their goods and services in Nigeria are all blue chip companies, quoted in Nigerian Stock Exchange such as Nigerian Breweries PLC, Cadbury PLC, Nestle PLC, Christleb PLC, Lever Brothers, U.A.C. Group of Companies, Neimeth Pharmaceutical company, Guinness PLC, 7up bottling company and all seasoning companies etc.
Sales promotion is an indirect form of marketing promotion intended to stimulate quick action.
It is those marketing activities-other than personal selling, advertising and publicity-that stimulate consumer purchasing and dealer effectiveness, such as display, shows and exhibitions, demonstration, coupons, sweeps-take competition, contests, samples, premiums, trade allowance, point of purchase displays, cent-off packs and dealer allowances, and other known routine selling efforts that are usually of short term activities.
Sales promotion can also be seen as a form of “incentive marketing” Incentive marketing, among other things, helps to ensure repeat purchasing when well executed, and repeat purchasing is the key to successful marketing or successful business (Schewe 1987). More specifically, however, sales promotion can be defined as a set of activities made up mainly of immediate or delayed ‘incentives to purchases, expressed in cash or in kind over a short period and whose main objective is to increase the sales volume for any product or service.
Even though most sale promotion campaigns are aimed at achieving short-term sales objectives, it must be noted that it can also perform the function of helping to achieve long-term sales and other marketing or business objectives. Sales promotion has for instance,
been increasingly shown to be a long-term image builder, awareness creator and a veritable communication medium (Bantick, 1980). Furthermore, sales promotion contributes to the utilitarian value of advertising. For example, much of modern advertising is geared towards publicizing the promotional effort. Also, sales promotion facilitates the processes of product or service differentiation and effective positioning in an increasingly competitive market as exists in Nigeria. Sales promotion is, of course, a marketing tool that can be gainfully employed in offensive and defensive marketing of any product or services, (Nwosu 2001).
According to (Kinnear and Bernharelt, 1993), sales promotions is intended to aid both consumer pull an dealer push. They thus categorized common sales promotion techniques in terms of their consumer and dealer focus.
Consumer pull promotion techniques are such activities like sampling, price incentives or deals, coupons, cent-off-offer, returned or rebate, contests, sweeps-take competition, premium like free-in-the mail, self liquidatory and reliable containers. While trade push promotions techniques are such activities like training, inventory controls, displays and financial assistance.
Before the sixties, sales promotions has not become popular, but in recent years have grown so rapidly between 1969 and 1976, and much more in the late eighties. It is this valid increase therefore, and especially now that world economies like Nigerian are in down turns, that has promoted this research “The Nature and Practice of Sales Promotion in Nigeria.”
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
The use of sales promotion helps in promoting sales of a particular product. But it has many problems which includes
(1) The problem of assessing the growth / development of sales promotion from post independence till date.
(2) The problem of determining factors that contributes to increase in sales promotion adoption in Nigeria.
(3) The problem of knowing the prospects and problems of sales promotion.
(4) The problem choosing the best available sales promotion tool(s), in other to achieve the set goal.
(5) How ethical those companies are whether the various offers projected during the sales promotion are genuine and fulfilled.
1.3 STATEMENT OF OBJECTIVE
A not-so-quiet revolution is currently taking place in Nigeria’s contemporary marketing scene. That revolution is the increased use of sales promotional campaigns by many companies in the country to facilitate the sale of their products in the depressed and de-regulated economic system in which Nigeria now finds itself.
So considering the enormous cost, it has become necessary to evaluate this action to determine the cost effectiveness of this expensive programme and the response.
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